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The Burden of Debt and the Spiritual Freedom of Generosity.

The cause of America’s economic woes is not the result solely of political mismanagement. More than anything else, it is the result of spiritual darkness. This is because political management is driven by the aggregate choices of the people who elect representatives to political positions.  Those representatives then implement what they believe is the will of the people through legislation, economic agreements, monetary policy, and national spending choices.   Because those representatives are elected by the people, it is the spiritual condition of the people which informs their policy choices.   

This spiritual condition – as it pertains to economics – is abundantly clear in two places.  First the national debt exceeds what the country produces.  The nation does not make enough money to pay its bills, so it must borrow from future generations, or from other financial sources. Forebodingly, in 2022, debt exceeded what the country produced by as much as 123%. But this should come as no surprise, because the average American personally owes more than he or she makes as well. Sometimes this personal debt to productivity ratio is the result of terrible things like medical emergencies, or job loss, but far too often it is the result of spiritual issues like not saving, not preparing, not prioritizing, while also following sensual and material desires rather than Godly wisdom. 

America as a nation of individuals has violated good spiritual wisdom which has been plainly encoded in scripture. Proverbs 21:20 tells us that a wise man has valuable things in his home and that a foolish man consumes all that he has. Proverbs 22:3 tells us that wise people take the time to prepare for potential difficulties, while foolish, silly, or simple people never give it a thought.  A powerful truth is found in Proverbs 13:11 where we’re told that money which is gained hastily bleeds away over time, but the person who gains a little at a time grows his wealth. The reason for this is simple. Money gained in little increments requires discipline, maturity, and work. The person who is disciplined enough to gather it over time and not spend it, is the person who is wise enough to invest it, grow it and to properly prioritize it. 

While the Bible does not prohibit debt, nor call it sin, neither does it look kindly upon it. Proverbs 22:7 tells us that the borrower makes himself into a slave.  This truth is demonstrated by the many Americans who are now slaves shackled to jobs, locations, and unpleasant forces by chains of debt which they gleefully accepted from bankers who will only give them the key after they’ve paid both principal and interest over large portions of their lives. This is in contrast to righteous people who are able to give generously (Psalm 37:21) because they have plenty of treasure and oil in their homes (Proverbs 21:20). 

It is best to avoid the slavery of debt, and to incur the security and freedom of enough and plenty. In Acts, Paul prompts the elders at Ephesus using Jesus's claim that it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:33-35). He reminds them that he has lived a life of hard work to demonstrate that principle. His economic priorities were properly aligned with a good spiritual condition and evidenced by his generosity. In what ways are you allowing God to improve the spiritual conditions and choices that inform your personal economics?

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